Recent Grad Works As Technology Analyst at Barclays

Ke Ma
Ke Ma.

Ke Ma, who graduated in 2018 with a master’s from DSI, works as a Technology Analyst at Barclays Investment Bank. He’s part of a team that focuses on Electronic Trading Equities, one of the largest divisions within Barclays.

His team essentially uses algorithms and models to automate large stock trades. It’s faster than the older method, where traders would call clients to discuss trading strategies and then implement the trades. 

“In electronic trading,” Ma says, “time is money. So the lower the latency period and the faster the trade the more money the bank makes.”

Barclays clients place orders for tremendous amounts of stock, Ma explains.   

And some of the orders are so huge that if sent directly into the market they  would cause enormous fluctuation, which state regulation prohibits. Therefore, Ma’s team uses algorithms to divide the stock orders into smaller components. The team “slices” them and places them into different markets (NYSE, Nasdaq, etc.) at different times. His “portal team” acts like a closing gate before the orders actually go into the markets. It then monitors the results and aggregates them to ensure that they don't go beyond the client's trading limit, which is pre-set. It’s Ma’s job to develop and improve the monitoring platform, known as a portal. 

In the summer of 2017, Ma worked as an intern at Barclays. He excelled and was later offered the full-time position. He’s grateful to DSI for preparing him to work successfully as a data scientist, and says that a highlight of his time in the master’s program was the support he received from the Career Services office.  

“The office sent out many so many good job postings for us to consider,” says Ma, who came from China to study at DSI. “These were a lot of postings for high-quality jobs. DSI has an outstanding career service; other similar degree programs don't usually have such amazing career service. Even now, though I’ve graduated, I receive job postings every day from DSI.”

Looking back, he says enrolling in the DSI master’s program was a great decision. As an undergraduate at UCLA, he double majored in Applied Math and Business Economics. He also minored in Statistics and Computing. So moving into data science was a perfect transition for him, since he was able to integrate all that he had learned as an undergraduate with advanced data-science techniques. 

“What’s great about data science is that it has such wide applications,” Ma says, “since almost all fields have data! Not to mention that Colombia has a global reputation, which will always help me succeed in my career.” 

In terms of future plans, Ma intends to remain in the financial field for some time. Working in the field presents challenges and opportunities, in that the financial world has huge amounts of data, much of which is not “currently being used for analytics and data science,” he says. 

“The financial world, however, is being transformed – data science is increasingly being used – and I’m looking forward to being involved in that change.”

--By Robert Florida

550 W. 120th St., Northwest Corner 1401, New York, NY 10027    212-854-5660
©2018 Columbia University